Europe This Week: May 25, 2022

May 25, 2022

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Europe, usually posted on Wednesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

The Mesi Bridge – built in 1770 by the Ottomans – over the Kir River in Albania. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Diego Delso (CC BY SA)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing

Albania’s indirect presidential election began on May 16, 2022 and will continue until parliament chooses a candidate.

Albania held parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021 in a tense political climate with several violent incidents. The elections were close, and the incumbent Socialist Party won a third term in office, defeating the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. 

After World War II, Albania became an isolationist communist dictatorship, one of the most brutal regimes in the world. However, since communism collapsed in 1990, the country has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. Albania joined NATO in 2009 and is currently a candidate for EU membership. While Albania has had less engagement with China than other countries in the Western Balkans, Beijing is trying to make inroads.  More (May 24, 2022): Voting for Albania’s next president continues in vain

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (May 23, 2022): Berisha Claims He’s Back in Charge of Albania’s Democratic Party

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

France holds presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. These follow the June 2021 regional elections, in which the far-right failed to make gains that had been predicted by pre-election polls. The regional elections put the center-right Republicans in a stronger position to challenge President Emmanuel Macron.

In total, 12 candidates qualified for the first round of the presidential election (by obtaining 500 signatures of elected officials). Pre-election polls were all over the place, but the runoff was a rematch between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017. Macron once again won. However, the upcoming legislative elections could create challenges for his agenda if his allies do not win a majority.

Robert Zaretsky, Politico (May 25, 2022): The historic echoes of France’s new left alliance: The Popular Front of the 1930s offers parallels ahead of the country’s legislative elections.

Michael Fitzpatrick, RFI (May 23, 2022): French government promises action on spending immediately after elections

Elaine Ganley, AP (May 23, 2022): New French govt pledges ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse

Italy Local Elections: June 12, 2022

Italy is holding local elections in some areas. In total, 980 out of the country’s 7,904 municipalities will vote, including 26 provincial capitals.

The country is due to hold general elections by June 1, 2023, but as is ever the case with Italy, snap elections are possible. In January 2021, the then-government collapsed after former prime minister Matteo Renzi withdrew his support. Former European Central Bank chief Mario “Super Mario” Draghi formed a government in February 2021, and a fragile stability has prevailed since then.

Angelo Amante, Reuters (May 25, 2022): Politicians’ mafia past stirs anger ahead of Sicily election

James Imam, New York Times (May 25, 2022): In a Former Mafia Stronghold, Art Remembers, and Warns

Rachel Sanderson, Bloomberg (May 19, 2022): The Woman Who Might Lead Italy to the Far Right

Croatia, Early Local Elections in Split: June 26, 2022

HINA (May 19, 2022): Split To Hold Early Local Elections On 26 June

Germany Lower Saxony State Elections: October 8, 2022

Germany holds several sets of state elections in 2022, following the “Superwahljahr” (Super Election Year) of 2021, which saw the defeat of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and a new “traffic light coalition” government consisting of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens.

Next up: Lower Saxony goes to the polls on October 8. The current government is led by SPD, in coalition with CDU.

Most recently, CDU won the May 15 state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, currently governed by a CDU-FDP coalition. NRW was seen as a test for Scholz, and SPD fell short. CDU could potentially form a new coalition with the Greens, who doubled their vote share, as FDP and CDU together do not have enough seats to continue their coalition.

Before that, CDU won big in Schleswig-Holstein. The incumbent premier, CDU’s Daniel Günther, who heads  a “Jamaica coalition” of CDU, FDP, and the Greens, will remain in office. CDU won 43 percent of the vote, an 11 percent gain over its 2017 results in the state. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) did not clear the 5 percent threshold to win seats.

In March, Saarland held state elections. The incumbent government, a grand coalition of CDU and SPD, fell as SPD won a historic landslide.

Volker Witting, DW (May 25, 2022): Tired of democracy? What’s behind the low voter turnout in Germany?

Sudha David-Wilp, Foreign Policy (May 24, 2022): Germany’s Christian Democrats Are on a Comeback Mission: The future of governance in the country looks very much like a conservative-green alliance

Laurenz Gehrke, Politico (May 24, 2022): German election should be rerun in parts of Berlin, ballot supervisor tells MPs

Ben Knight and Marcel Fürstenau, DW (May 20, 2022): German far-right AfD in crisis: Germany’s far-right populist AfD is desperate to turn its ailing fortunes around after terrible election results

Austria Presidential Election: Fall 2022 (due)

Austria is due to hold a presidential election in Fall 2022, although in Austria’s parliamentary system, the role is largely ceremonial. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen is running for another term. Van der Bellen, who comes from the Green Party, has a high approval rating and the major parties (the center-right People’s Party, which currently heads the government, and the main opposition Socialists) have not announced candidates to oppose him.

Recently, the double resignation of center-right chancellor Sebastian Kurz and subsequently his successor, Alexander Schallenberg, has shaken politics. General elections to select the next government are not due until 2024, but snap elections remain possible. Various states also hold state and local elections in 2022 and 2023.

Austria has been a neutral country since 1955. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed other neutral countries (notably Finland and Sweden) to re-evaluate their status. However, Austria relies heavily on Russia for energy. As such, the current government has said it will remain neutral. However, some have called for a rethink of the policy.

Alice Tidey, Euronews (May 24, 2022): As Sweden and Finland seek to join NATO, just 4 EU states could be left out of the alliance

Marton Eder, Bloomberg (May 22, 2022): Austrian Leader Navigating Political Storm Seeks Second Term

Katja Hoyer, Unherd (May 20, 2022): Unlike Sweden, Austria stays neutral: The country’s founding principle is holding firm — for now

The Local (May 18, 2022): ‘No country is an island’: Is it time Austria abandoned neutrality?

Reuters (May 18, 2022): Austria’s neutral status here to stay, foreign minister says

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

Poland is due to hold parliamentary elections in fall 2023, but snap elections are possible if the three-party government headed by the conservative Law and Justice does not hold together.

Bartosz Sieniawski, (May 25, 2022): Polish opposition demands more power for regional governments

Adam Czerniak, German Marshall Fund (May 24, 2022): Poland Faces Economic Headwinds before the 2023 Elections

Bartosz Sieniawski, Euractiv (May 18, 2022): Polish opposition slam EPP chief Tusk’s joint electoral list proposal

Past Europe Elections

United Kingdom Local Elections, including Northern Ireland Assembly: May 5, 2022

The United Kingdom held local elections for some local councils, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly, on May 5.

Northern Ireland’s nationalist Sinn Féin became the biggest party in the Assembly following these elections. Although its candidates ran on bread and butter issues, the win could accelerate calls for a referendum on Northern Ireland’s status.

In England, the Liberal Democrats were the big winner, and the Conservatives lost several London councils that they had controlled for decades. Nonetheless, there were very few calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.

Shawn Pogatchnik, Politico (May 25, 2022): UK to make Irish an official language in Northern Ireland: Sinn Féin lauds bill as long overdue, but unionists warn that Irish-speakers will use new powers ‘to make a real pest of themselves.’

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 23, 2022): The Irish language is having a moment in the sun

AFP (May 22, 2022): UK Demands EU Action on Northern Ireland as US Lawmakers Visit

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 19, 2022): Northern Ireland’s DUP stakes its future on Brexit battle with London

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

Croatia, Early Local Elections in Split: June 26, 2022

Austria Presidential Election: Fall 2022 (due)

Sweden Parliamentary and Local Elections: September 11, 2022

Latvia Parliamentary Elections: October 1, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

Germany, Lower Saxony State Elections: October 9, 2022

Czech Republic Local and Partial Senate Election: October 2022

Spain, Andalusia Regional Elections: Between June and October 2022 (due)

Slovenia Presidential and Local Elections: October/November 2022 (due)

Slovakia Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

Czech Republic Presidential Election: By January 2023

Austria, Lower Austria State Elections: January 2023 (due)

Cyprus Presidential Election: February 2023 (due)

Monaco Parliamentary Elections: February 2023 (due)

Austria, Tyrol State Elections: February 2023 (due)

Estonia General Elections: By March 5, 2023

Netherlands Provincial Council and Water Authority Elections: March 2023 (due)

Austria, Carinthia State Elections: March 2023 (due)

Finland Parliamentary Elections: By April 2023

Montenegro Presidential Election: April 2023 (due)

Austria, Salzburg State Elections: April 2023 (due)

Spain Local Elections and Various Regional Elections: May 28, 2023

Germany, Bremen State Elections: May 2023 (due)

Greece Local Elections: May 2023 (due)

Latvia Indirect Presidential Election: May 2023 (due)

Italy General Elections: By June 1, 2023

Denmark General Elections: By June 4, 2023

Greece Parliamentary Elections: By August 6, 2023

Norway Local Elections: September 2023

Switzerland Federal Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 (due)

Luxembourg General Elections: October 2023

Bulgaria Local Elections: October 2023

Germany, Hesse and Bavaria State Elections: October 2023 (due)

Finland, Åland Elections: By October 2023

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

Spain General Elections: By December 10, 2023 (snap elections possible

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Share This